The start of a new year brings New Year’s resolutions, new beginnings and new goals. And the beginning of a new year is also an opportunity to reflect on the previous year’s public relations successes and missteps.
If you find that you were just shy of reaching your communications goals in 2016, either because they were not specific enough or too ambitious, check out our end-of-the-year PR checklist below. Use it to help guide your PR strategies for the upcoming year.
Evaluate Competitors – Have your PR team perform a competitor communications analysis to identify the various tactics your competitors use in their PR and communication programs. Take a deep dive to see if they are doing anything unique and analyze what seems to be working for them or not. Most importantly, look for areas of missed opportunities. By analyzing your competitors, you can find ways to differentiate and more effectively position your brand.
Review Messaging – Does your messaging still resonate with your audiences? Have your messages changed overtime? If you think your messaging needs refreshing, it may be time to hold a messaging session. As your company grows and changes, your messaging will as well. It is important that your messaging stays current to ensure that all PR deliverables – press releases, social media posts, website content, whitepapers, conference materials and more – are in sync and consistent with what you want to communicate to your publics. Look for your use of jargon and overused phrases. Work to develop messaging that clearly communicates the compelling benefits of working with you and how you solve challenges. Make sure your messaging is as unique as your organization is.
Analyze Social Media – Examine your social media channels to see what type of posts resonate with your audiences. Consider updating your social media strategy to coincide with your messaging.
Social media is constantly changing. What is trending one day may change the next. It’s critical that you understand which social media platforms your audience uses most and what content results in solid engagement. Once you have reviewed your social media, create a new social media plan and calendar for the new year. Focus on goals you want to accomplish with social moving forward.
Update Website – Similar to social media, website trends continually change – everything from navigation to design to mobile capability, and everything else in between. We recommend refreshing your website at least once every two years. It is also important to update your website content to be concise, well written, and on target with your messaging. Look at your images and headlines. Sometimes just changing out the images and adjusting headlines can freshen up your website between major revamps.
Set Goals – Work with your PR team to determine communications goals for the forthcoming year. What are the most important things you need to communicate to your publics? Is there a challenge or opportunity you must address? Are there more creative ways of telling your brand’s story? Did you land the kind of earned media you wanted to over the past year? Did your press releases tell a story over time? What kind of content do we need to create? Ask yourself these types of questions and develop a set of goals, and at by this time next year, you will have a way to measure your communications success.
From everyone at Clearpoint Agency, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year!
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We occasionally get questions from our clients about whether their company blog should be on their corporate site or off. We’d like to discuss the pros and cons of both options, and provide a little insight into what most companies are doing.
It seems that so far, most companies house their blog on the corporate website, but there are certainly pros and cons to both options. The majority of companies are also using a development platform such as WordPress or Blogger. Customization is expensive!
A blog set up directly on your business’ website
- Increase traffic to the main site, increasing Alexa rank
- Increases indexing of your website by search engines, which is especially valuable if site content is not updated frequently
- If blog is shared, tagged, linked to, etc. via social media, the website reaps the benefits
- Keeps your audience up to date
- Harder to implement if custom building on site (and not using a development platform like WordPress or Blogger)
- Website might include restrictions on length of post, etc.
- Might lower the rank of other more important pages
A blog set up on its own domain that links back to your business’ website.
- Your business brand has two properties online
- Gives you two domains to rank twice for your keywords in search engines
- Easy and quick to install, especially if using WordPress or Blogger
- Very quality links back to main site
- Greater flexibility with design and coding
- Offsite is best if your blog will contain content that is unrelated or only slightly related to your main website
- May take longer to draw traffic to the main site
- It can get more popular than the main site on search engines
- Could look less professional than an onsite blog
- Less control (based on the development platform — WordPress, Blogger, etc.)
- If blog is shared, tagged, linked to, etc. via social media, the development platform reaps the benefits, not your corporate website
Whole Other Option
Why yes, there is a THIRD option! You can have your cake and eat it too. If you have a prolific company (or awesome PR agency), you can have two blogs – one onsite and one offsite. This is a great option as it literally gives you all of the benefits, increased traffic on your site, high quality inbound links, multiple domain properties, etc.
Our research shows that in this event, it is best NOT to duplicate your content. That will just annoy people and search engines. Consider keeping company news on the onsite blog , and letting the offsite blog be a little more exciting. It could be commentary on the industry or opinion (food is delicious, banking is exciting, robots are fascinating!) anything that relates to the brand but is just a little beyond corporate news. This is a great example of a win-win.
So what about you? Which would you choose? Anyone daring enough to do both? The right answer depends on each company’s situation, and we’ve had clients successfully do both onsite and offsite blogs.Of course, blogs are like our babies, and we think they’re all beautiful. Just get blogging!
This post was contributed by Alexia Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive
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Getting into a print or online publication can be tricky, from writing an enticing pitch to trying to distinguish your press release from the hundreds of others sitting in the editor’s inbox. We drew from our own experiences with media relations to compile this list of tips to help you get published.
- 1. Be honest – Put your news to the test. Is it really newsworthy? Assess the entertainment value, proximity, prominence, timeliness, uniqueness and impact for the audience.
- Read your target publications– It is crucial that you know what these publications and broadcast stations care about and how they address their audiences, that way you can tailor your pitch to make it more appealing.
- Target the appropriate editors– And producers too. You will have a better shot at success if you send the tech piece to the tech editor, rather than to the lifestyles or calendar editor.
- Write a good release– Keep it factual and interesting to get your point across clearly and concisely. Associated Press Style is never going out of style so learn it and use it! Answer these questions within the first three paragraphs: “who, what, where, when and why?” Put opinions in quotations only and never make outrageous claims you cannot back up.
- Distribute the news through a reliable wire service– Make sure it gets to the appropriate audience, but don’t expect the wire service to do all the work for you! Send your news release with an individualized pitch to top editors/producers at your key 10-20 media outlets.
- Master the art of a good pitch– Keep it short but compelling. No more than three paragraphs. Give information that is not included in the release. If you can capture his/her attention in the first seven seconds, you will also capture his/her audience.
- If you really have a coup to announce, offer an exclusive angle to your number one media target– Or, embargo the news to the top three outlets that are likely to cover your announcement. Give them an early heads-up but ask them to hold the new until you are ready to release it widely.
- Include relevant visuals– A photo of a prominent person, interesting art, charts and graphs help to make a release more interesting. They’ll also get you more space.
- Don’t play hard to get! – After you’ve sent your pitch, follow-up by phone and make yourself available on a moment’s notice for an interview if the editor/producer is interested. Remember they are running on tight time schedules.
- Remember that a good PR agency just might be your best tool – We know the editors, the audiences and the pitch process that will land a story and gain success. A Good PR Agency will help get you the recognition that you deserve.
This post was contributed by Lexy Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive.
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